Malaysia First Woman Deputy Prime Minister


During her early years in politics, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was often portrayed as a reluctant politician. At other times, she was painted as the genial and long-suffering wife of the jailed Anwar Ibrahim. It may be a sharp contrast from the not-so-recent past when Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail sat on the other side, fighting for fair play, justice and truth.

Today, as the country’s ‘number two’, she will help lead and pave the way in charting a fresh route with new beginnings for all Malaysians. She is the deputy prime minister who seems to be constantly on the move as she dives into her various roles, including as women, family and community development minister. The ophthalmologist by training said that she has not had to work so hard since she was a houseman. “It’s a new dawn. What we have criticised the Barisan Nasional government for, it’s our responsibility now to better that. “We’re the government now. We have to fulfil (our promises), deliver to the rakyat.” Although often overshadowed by her more charismatic husband at public events, underlying Dr Wan Azizah’s quiet and dignified demeanour is a competitive, strong-willed character.

“It is certainly a change for me. I spend more time in Putrajaya for briefings and other sessions to know more about the government’s operating procedures. We (Pakatan Harapan) were in the opposition before, but we are now the government.” As deputy prime minister, she has had her hands full with official duties, leaving her with limited time for family. “I hardly have time to spend with my husband (former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim), although he is out of jail and it is the same with my children and grandchildren,” she said in an interview with Bernama at the official residence of the deputy prime minister, Seri Satria, Putrajaya recently. What drove and kept her motivated during the dark, early days of her political career? She said it was the desire to bring about real change in the country.

“As a person, I’ll always do my best. I’m part of the process to change Malaysia for the better,” she said at her office in Putrajaya. “Five years from now, I want to see us changed, from a kleptocratic government to a country with integrity and dignity.” When she was named as deputy prime minister, Dr Wan Azizah personally requested for the women, family and community development portfolio from Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. “People think of the women and welfare portfolio as a second or third portfolio. I wanted it because I think it’s important. “It takes care of you from the cradle to the grave. It’s a large ministry. There is a lot that we can do, improve and optimise.” Despite her busy routine, Wan Azizah was calm and composed, often flashing a smile while patiently answering and explaining softly as a kindly mother or grandmother would, to the many questions put forward by this Bernama reporter about her past 30 days in office.

It clearly radiates in her face and her body language says it all – despite her position, the long hours and new routine, she is very much at peace. She is both happy and thankful that her husband was released on May 16 after receiving a full pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V. Two decades ago, the mother of six plunged into the muddy waters of national politics after Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister, and jailed for corruption and sodomy. Dr Wan Azizah at 49, co-founded Parti Keadilan Nasional – now PKR – which she led from being a party with one federal seat in 1999 to an outfit that has the second-largest number of seats in Parliament today. What drove and kept her motivated during the dark, early days of her political career?

She said it was the desire to bring about real change in the country. Wan Azizah said the Harapan government headed by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has pledged to eliminate corruption and serve the people well. “Tun Dr Mahathir has emphasised that this government must make a difference. This government has promised to be morally conscious and to uplift its people and to make sure that they are proud to be Malaysians. “More importantly, we want not just the country’s administration but also the community to be better because we do not want unhealthy values to become a culture in our country,” she said. Wan Azizah said that she was confident that under the Harapan leadership, there would be great potential for the nation as it had the machinery to support and bring about changes.

“The new Malaysia will not only be smart but efficient too. As we make our presence felt in the various ministries, we find that there is a system in place for good governance, but it may not have been well implemented before. “I am confident that with a good system and government employees, and managers of integrity, the goals of the Harapan government can be implemented,” she said. On her first day of work on May 22, Dr Wan Azizah vowed to resolve the problem of undernourished children from low-income families, an issue that was highlighted in a Unicef study earlier this year. She said there is much to be done, policy-wise, to ensure that Malaysia’s children are safe, as well as to address the gender imbalance in the workplace.She said she is unfazed by the work ahead of her, though admitting that after 20 years as an opposition leader, she has not quite fully adapted to her new role in the government.

“I thought we would have a hung Parliament and it would take time (to sort it out),” she said of Pakatan Harapan’s historic victory on May 9, which ended 61 years of Barisan Nasional rule. “But, we won outright. We made it. I took office. It’s surreal.” She said she is not the only one still trying to adjust following the suprising polls results. Dr Mahathir, who, at 92, is the world’s oldest elected leader, is also trying to adapt to the new dynamics of the PH government. Dr Wan Azizah cited as an example the selection of ministers. She said Dr Mahathir was supposed to announce the full cabinet list before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, but is taking more time to deliberate on his picks as there are many issues to take into consideration. The prime minister has also been given reminders time and again that he has to think about the 30% women target. He also has to think of the four parties.

Harapan, made up of Bersatu, DAP, PKR and Amanah, won the 14th general election on May 9, thus ending six decades of BN rule of the country.

PM : Warga asing tidak perlu di bawa masuk menetap di Malaysia


Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata, kerajaan tidak percaya pelaburan langsung asing untuk pembangunan negara perlu membawa masuk warga asing dan membenarkan mereka menetap di Malaysia. Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata, Malaysia tetap menjalinkan hubungan baik dengan China, namun enggan berhutang dengan negara itu. Beliau menegaskan kerajaan sebelumnya meminjam sejumlah wang untuk projek besar dan satu-satunya negara yang sanggup meminjamkan wang yang begita tinggi amaun ialah China.

Beliau berkata, tiada siapa yang mengambil berat dan peduli sama ada Malaysia mampu membayar pinjaman itu atau tidak. “Oleh itu, kita perlu mencari jalan dan cara untuk mengurangkan pinjaman itu di samping menjalin hubungan sedia ada dengan China sebagai rakan perdagangan yang baik,” kata Dr Mahathir pada sesi dialog anjuran Japan National Press Club di Tokyo. Terdahulu, Dr Mahathir yang dalam lawatan kerja 3 hari ke Jepun, menghadiri Persidangan Antarabangsa Ke-24 dan membincang mengenai Masa Depan Asia atau Persidangan Nikkei di sebuah hotel terkemuka di ibu negara Jepun. Dalam pada itu, Dr Mahathir berkata, secara umumnya, kerajaan tidak percaya pelaburan langsung asing untuk pembangunan negara perlu melibatkan warga asing yang dibawa masuk dan menetap di Malaysia. “Mereka (pemaju) boleh melaksanakan pembangunan, tetapi kita tidak akan membenarkan warga asing menetap di negara kita.” kata Tun Dr Mahathir. Beliau juga berkata bahawa banyak negara mengamalkan langkah sama.

“Amerika Syarikat sedang membina dinding di sempadan Mexico, mereka mahu memelihara negara itu hanya untuk rakyatnya sendiri dan begitu juga dengan negara lain,” kata Perdana Menteri yang menjelaskan pendirian Malaysia berhubung perkara tersebut. Di samping itu, United Kingdom (UK) telah menyatakan kesediaannya untuk membantu Malaysia mendapatkan semula asetnya, kata Pesuruhjaya Tinggi Britain ke Malaysia, Vicki Treadell. Treadell, yang menemui Pengerusi Majlis Penasihat Kerajaan (CEP) Daim Zainuddin hari ini, berkata UK akan membantu kerajaan Malaysia membina semula kewangannya. “Jika ada wang ditemui dalam proses yang sewajarnya dan ia milik Malaysia, UK akan membantu proses penghantaran semulanya, tetapi terdapat proses dan undang-undang yang perlu dipatuhi,” katanya ketika ditemui di luar Menara Ilham. Ditanya mengenai topik yang dibincangkan dengan Daim, katanya ia merupakan perbincangan yang luas termasuk bagaimana UK dapat membantu dengan agenda pembaharuan kerajaan baharu.


Dalam perkembangan lain, Jawatankuasa Pembaharuan Institusi (IRC) yang diterajui oleh K.C. Vohrah berkata jawatankuasa itu hampir selesai mengadakan perbincangan dengan semua pihak yang berkaitan dan akan menulis laporan tidak lama lagi. Menyatakan akan terdapat dua lagi mesyuarat selepas Hari Raya, beliau menegaskan jawatankuasa itu akan menumpukan kepada pembersihan pelbagai institusi kerajaan, terutamanya Jabatan Peguam Negara, Parlimen, Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya dan Polis Diraja Malaysia. “Perlu perubahan. Kami menerima banyak input dan kami sedang menelitinya, dan bagaimana maklum balas itu dapat disesuaikan dengan pembaharuan yang diperlukan,” kata Vohrah.

Turut hadir pada mesyuarat itu adalah empat anggota IRC yang lain, Pesuruhjaya Suhakam Mah Weng Kwai, Presiden Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan Brig Jen (B) Mohamed Arshad Raji, Presiden Persatuan Hak Asasi Manusia Kebangsaan (Hakam) Ambiga Sreenevasan dan pensyarah undang-undang di Universiti Malaya, Prof Emeritus Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.

Beware of the Kleptocrats trying to make a political comeback


It is timely to sound this warning. Beware! Those responsible for sending Malaysia into the trajectory of a kakistocracy and a rogue and kleptocratic state are trying to make a political comeback starting with the UMNO party elections this month. In this political comeback, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be back atop the UMNO pile, though not as UMNO President but as the “power behind throne”.

This could be discerned from three recent developments in the past month since the historic and watershed 14th General Election on May 9, 2018. Firstly, Najib Razak emerging as the leading, in fact the only, spokesman for UMNO/BN issuing periodic statements to attack the Pakatan Harapan government, except that his statements could not get any audience for he had lost all credibility and trustworthiness. Secondly, the surfacing of the faceless and nameless UMNO Strategic Communications Unit on 24th May 2018 laying claim on behalf of UMNO to the assets seized by the police from the Pavilion Residences for example 72 bags out of which 35 bags contained RM114 million cash. The cash were in 26 different currencies and 35 bags of jewellery and watches as well as 284 boxes of designer handbags. It is not known whether the UMNO Strategic Communications Unit is also laying claim on behalf of UMNO to the luxury items which police seized in a raid in a Najib “safe house” in Precinct 10, Putrajaya two days ago although it is clear that his mysterious Unit is a camouflage and proxy for Najib.

Thirdly, the UMNO mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia, which had practised a more sober and responsible journalism in the early days of the historic and watershed 14GE on May 9, 2018, reverting to the old Utusan/UMNO journalism of fake news and false information re-peddling the UMNO campaign of race, religion, hate, fear and lies. For example, three days ago, in the Mingguan Malaysia weekend column, Awang Selamat, which is the name for Utusan Malaysia’s editorial voice, returned to the reckless, irresponsible and treasonous politics of race, religion, fear, hatred and lies by accusing the DAP with the dastardly lie that the DAP wants to abolish the system of constitutional monarchy and by turning Malaysia into a republic. There is a common unifying factor propelling these three developments, the involvement of the same personalities who had sent Malaysia into the trajectory of a kakistocracy and a rogue and kleptocratic state, causing Malaysian voters, regardless of race, religion, region or even party politics to unite to Save Malaysia in the 14GE! Now these very forces responsible for making Malaysia a kakistocracy and rogue and kleptocratic state are conspiring to make a political comeback starting with UMNO party elections later this month.

From the Pakatan Harapan’s own selfish interests, we would welcome the candidacies of Tan Sri Annuar Musa for the post of UMNO Deputy President and Datuk Seri Jamal Md. Yunos for the post of UMNO Youth Leader, although the answer would be very different from the standpoint of promoting the best interests of democracy in Malaysia. – LIM KIT SIANG

Kesultanan Johor tidak pernah guna wang rakyat


KESULTANAN Johor tidak pernah mengambil duit rakyat, kata istana hari ini, mengulas dakwaan bahawa Raja-Raja Melayu berbelanja dengan mewah. Kesultanan Johor tidak pernah mengambil wang rakyat, tetapi sebenarnya telah mendermaka seluruh peruntukan kerajaan negeri yang diterima kepada rakyatnya sejak tahun 1899 lagi, maklum kenyataan Istana Johor. Kenyataan yang disiarkan menerusi hantaran di halaman Facebook Johor Souther Tigers, pihak istana negeri berkata sejak pemerintahan Sultan Abu Bakar pada 1899, Kesultanan Johor telah menderma gaji sebagai sultan yang diperuntukkan kerajaan bagi membantu rakyat di negeri itu.

Amalan ini kemudiannya diteruskan pada zaman pemerintahan Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail di mana dana tersebut disalurkan kepada Yayasan Sultan Iskandar demi manfaat rakyat Johor bagi membantu golongan yang memerlukan. “Kesultanan Johor sejak zaman pemerintahan Almarhum Sultan Sir Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar pada tahun 1899 telah mendermakan kesemua gaji dan elaun Baginda yang diperuntukkan oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan kepada yayasan tersebut bagi membantu Bangsa Johor yang memerlukan.” menurut kenyataan tersebut. Penjelasan ini datang selepas wujud dakwaan kira-kira RM256.9 juta telah dibelanjakan untuk Sultan Muhammad V dalam tempoh 16 bulan, semenjak beliau menjadi Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Wartawan veteran A Kadir Jasin dalam catatan blognya mengatakan selama 16 bulan sehingga April tahun ini, sejumlah RM256.9 juta diperuntukkan kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V. Sehubungan ini, Kadir telah meletak jawatan sebagai ketua media dan unit komunikasi Majlis Penasihat Kerajaan.

Menurut kenyataan itu lagi, yayasan Sultan Iskandar bukan sahaja membantu orang miskin, malah dana itu turut digunakan bagi membiayai pelajaran, bantuan bencana alam serta projek literasi computer. “Sultan Johor kini, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar turut mempunyai yayasan sendiri bertujuan memberi bantuan pendidikan, kebajikan, biasiswa pelajar miskin, perubatan serta bantuan kepada warga emas dan orang kurang upaya. “Dana untuk yayasan berkenaan adalah sumbangan daripada semua elaun diraja yang diterima baginda,” kata kenyataan itu lagi. Sejak era Sultan Sir Ibrahim sampai saat ini, hasil dan pendapatan keluarga di-Raja Johor berasal daripada pengurusan perladangan serta perusahaan lain seperti hartanah, kata kenyataan itu.

“Kesultanan Johor juga mempunyai beberapa perniagaan yang lain termasuk hartanah.”

Pengerusi SPR bersara awal


Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) berkata, tempoh perkhidmatan Pengerusinya, Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah dipendekkan berkuat kuasa 1 Julai ini, dua tahun lebih awal dari tarikh beliau sepatutnya bersara wajib. Melalui kenyataan yang dikeluarkan unit komunikasi korporat suruhanjaya itu hari ini, memaklumkan Mohd Hashim “akan memendekkan tempoh perkhidmatan” beliau, dan ia sudah diperkenankan oleh Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Pemendekan tempoh perkhidmatan ini telah diperkenankan oleh Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan dimaklumkan melalui surat daripada Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja, Istana Negara bertarikh 7 Jun 2018. “Pemendekan tempoh perkhidmatan ini juga telah dimaklumkan kepada YAB Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohd melalui surat rasmi bertarikh 11 Jun 2018,” kata kenyataan SPR itu. “SPR turut merakamkan setinggi penghargaan dan terima kasih kepada Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah atas khidmat bakti beliau sepanjang perkhidmatan di SPR,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan hari ini. Tan Sri Mohd Hashim yang berusia 64, menyertai SPR pada 5 September 2014 sebagai Timbalan Pengerusi dan dinaikkan pangkat untuk mengetuai suruhanjaya itu pada 24 Januari 2016. Sebelum menyertai badan pengendali pilihan raya itu pada 5 September 2014, Tan Sri Mohd Hashim adalah ketua setiausaha Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani.

Perkara 114 (3) Perlembagaan Persekutuan menetapkan Pengerusi SPR memegang jawatan sehingga umur 66 tahun. Perletakan jawatan Mohd Hashim ini menambah daftar panjang senarai peralihan pimpinan institusi sejak Barisan Nasional (BN) tersingkir dari Putrajaya, sama ada melibatkan mereka yang meletakkan jawatan, tidak diperbaharui kontrak jawatan atau diganti dengan orang baru. Beliau bagaimanapun sebelum ini dikritik pemimpin Pakatan harapan (HARAPAN) dan badan pendesak pembaharuan pilihan raya BERSIH kerana memperkenalkan persempadanan semula kawasan pilihan raya dan peraturan berkempen yang didakwa memberi kelebihan kepada BN. Sempadan baru kontroversi itu memecahkan banyak kawasan pilihan raya mengikut garis kaum. Ia disifatkan oleh banyak penganalisis politik ditunjukkan oleh pentadbiran Najib Razak bertujuan menyekat Pakatan Harapan (PH) menang PRU14. Sebelum ini, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dilaporkan berkata, kerajaan akan mengambil tindakan terhadap Hashim jika ada bukti beliau terbabit dalam salah laku pada pilihan raya umum ke-14.

Pengerusi Pakatan Harapan itu berkata, “penipuan” oleh badan pengendali pilihan raya menyebabkan ada di kalangan calon PPBM yang kalah pada 9 Mei lalu.